“Things like AI are starting to creep in more and more,” said Matthew McCann, sales director at IT solutions company Ergo.
“The companies who were the takers of managed print are now on to their fourth version. That’s where digitisation of documents come into it,” he said.
In effect, for many businesses it’s not so much about document output but document input, and artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques have a role in understanding what documents are being fed into the system.
“Where we’re seeing it is that we’re taking our customers on a digital journey. Our managed service side is working with AI, particularly in document management,” said McCann.
“There’s also AI in terms of the hardware self-healing: it can notify us as the supplier before a problem occurs, so we can perform predictive maintenance as opposed to preventative maintenance.”
McCann said that customers coming to Ergo were typically moving from a purely print solution to one centred around the documents themselves.
Partly, this is driven by the desire to cut out the costs associated with printing, but partly it is also an issue of confidentiality, compliance and security.
“It’s in its infancy in the Irish marketplace, but with GDPR kicking in, people are more aware of hard-copy documents lying around the place,” he said.
Those organisations already making use of managed document services also want more.
“They could be in their second or third iteration of document services,” said McCann.
“They’re looking for innovation and additional savings. That’s where we start to look at not reducing the cost of the requirement, but the requirement to output at all: can we make that document electronic so it doesn’t need to be printed, or can it be printed to a PDF and uploaded into Sharepoint and so on?"
“Frankly, a lot of organisations are still printing and scanning the documents back in,” he said.
The humble desktop printer or multifunction device (MFD) still has a role, of course, as hard copy is still required, but the technology is in place where a desktop printer can be fully managed.
“Print is still always going to be here, but customers are looking for more than just low cost per page,” said McCann.
“They’re looking to see how companies like Ergo can take them on that digital journey.”
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